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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 20 gallon long heavily planted tank with a bright light (Finnex Fugeray) and infused CO2. It's stocked with nano fish, and recently I added a betta. It's only been the second day and I know the betta is still adjusting but he doesn't come out of hiding often, and spends his time slinking around in the plants, only occasionally coming up for air and then disappearing again. I know this is a big adjustment for him, especially since the nano fish are always zipping excitedly around, the lights are bright, and the flow from the lily pipe might be a little high (though I haven't seen him swim out in the front/open enough to interact with it. The endlers are always trying to swim against the current so I have to have it high enough that they can't swim into the lily pipe, but low enough that they don't get flung back).

Several plants do reach the surface, but I'm wondering if that's not enough. I had turned away the idea of having floating plants because I need the surface agitation for CO2, and floating plants might provide too much shade for the plants. I also don't like long hanging roots, marring the sight of my plants.

I'm keeping an eye on the betta for now, he's still exploring every inch of the tank (I had assume the plants were grown too dense for a fish to enjoy swimming but realized it's just that my nano fish prefer to stay mostly out in the open part, where the food is deposited. I rarely see the betta now. I suppose if he's happy that's fine, but I just wonder if he's being cowed by the light.

People with high tech brightly-lit planted tanks and bettas, how do you make your betta comfortable?
 

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I have a few Bettas in high-tech tanks that are well lit. My bettas just love swimming through the tall stem plants that I have. I would say that once it gets used to the tank it will come out more. Especially if you are near the tank and it's used to you or for food. Mine are always swimming through the plants unless I am right by the tank. If it doesn't come out in the open in a few more days it might be the flow that it's trying to avoid.
 

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Im no expert but i think it depends on the persinality of the fish. Ive had my tank fluval spec III nano with my betta for about a month now. Mine hardly ever hides spends all his time harassing my snails and begging for food.
The lighte on the spec tank is bright in my opinion and i do have Floating Tigers as floaters. He absolutely loves hanging out in their roots and making elobrate bubble nests.
Floaters might help or he could just be a shy fish. Either way floaters would be another plant to contend with with your high tech set up.
Im running only liquid carbon and i have to clear out the floaters once a week because of how quick they grow.

I am no expert and have a betta in low tech but i second the thought that if he doesnt come out soon he is either avoiding the flow or happens to be a shy fish. Maybe even both.
I have floaters with my betta and he loves them. My betta was very active even before i added the floaters and i feel like the light on the Fluval Spec III is pretty bright and it never seemed to bother him. I know all bettas have differrebt personalities and temperments so ied take that into consideration as well.
 

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I've kept betta without floaters in many situations and so long as there are tall plants they can sprawl out in they are usually fine. Flow is a while different beast. Betta do not do well in moderate to high flow tanks. At all. If there's too much flow they will usually set up shop in a group of tall plants that they can use to buffer the flow when they grab some surface air. The more fancy the fins the more likely this is to occur. I'm not a true expert but I definitely have a long history with betta.
 

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Strong flow and bright lights aren't going to be comfortable for most Bettas. Not unless there are areas of the tank that are calm and dimmed with floating plants or tall, flow-y plants of some sort.

Stock lighting on Spec tanks is even too bright for most - to the point that Fluval has recently released a Betta-specific tank with more subdued lighting. Also has very low flow. I don't mean it can't be a well-lit tank. Just can't be crazy strong. And flow has to be on the really low end.

If you can, I'd try moving it to its own tank as soon as you can. If you can't, then try to create a more comfortable existence for it in your current tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I haven't seen him near the flow, probably because the outflow pipe is on the side, situated toward the front of the tank, of a 20 gallon long. He did come out more today and I even got to tweezer-feed him some food. I think he's trying to adjust with how spastic the nano fish are (especially during feeding time). As we speak he's out in the middle front, it looks like he felt a little of the flow (just stopped heading forward but wasn't pushed back) and then turned away.

Something that has me concerned though is his clamped fins. Fish from Thailand are usually shipped from pretty soft water, I think my GH is 8. Have to test pH and KH again sometime, it's been a while. I just hope it isn't doing him any harm.

Since the clamped fins indicate stress, I haven't flared him yet, I don't want to stress him out with the idea that there's another male betta in this already hectic tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I hope he's not (getting nipped). I've only seen him with his fins clamped since I got him 4 days ago from overseas, and for the most part he and the nano fish have been ignoring each other. I've seen a dwarf rainbowfish get pretty close to his side and then swim away, and he just hovered there unperturbed like he didn't notice or care. I hope when he does settle and hopefully unclamp his fins that they won't bother him and vice versa.

If you can, I'd try moving it to its own tank as soon as you can. If you can't, then try to create a more comfortable existence for it in your current tank.
I consolidated all my tanks to just have one. If any issues come up for this poor guy, I'd have to just rehome him.
 

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Maybe if you have a way of separating him to get him settled and observe that way you're not potentially introducing them to bacteria/ disease. If this isn't an option just keeps a good close eye everybody and make sure things go smoothly. I've never personally ordered from overseas but have received wild caught stock and I think I'd probably try to treat them the same way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Maybe if you have a way of separating him to get him settled and observe that way you're not potentially introducing them to bacteria/ disease. If this isn't an option just keeps a good close eye everybody and make sure things go smoothly. I've never personally ordered from overseas but have received wild caught stock and I think I'd probably try to treat them the same way.
I could try to set up a temporary divider in the tank.

Edit: Tomorrow I'm going to head to my LFS because last I checked, they do sell those. I'll try to set up something like 40% betta 60% nano (because there's like two dozen nano).

I think I just traumatized my tank's occupants and the aquascaping by setting up a temporary divider. It was a serious pain, I had to trim it to fit, and when I'd set up one side, the other side would become undone. Eventually I got it, with the majority of the nano fish on one side and 3 on the betta's side. I can't seem to catch those 3 fish but I'm keeping an eye out for them so I can move them to the other side.

Ironically when it was all done, the betta ended up having been on the wrong side, so I had to fish the poor already-stressed fish out and put him on the other side. I hope this hasn't regressed any progress for him. Taking the divider out one day should be painless for all, but I do hope in the meantime that it helps the betta settle in. He's back in hiding now; sadly he was out in the open, curious, before I put the divider in.

It's ironic the three nano fish keep trying to get to the other side but won't let me catch them.

Edit: Two of the three nano fish found a spot where they can slip through--luckily the ones on the other side haven't figured it out. One more to go!

Edit #2: I haven't turned lights out because I was hoping to catch that last nano fish. Well I just looked over and the betta is on the wrong side. The nano fish haven't figured it out yet but the betta has. I have a lumpy planted substrate and a fake rock background of varying widths, the latter which is probably how he switched sides. The background goes all the way down to the bottom of the tank so if I pulled it out, it would wreck the aquascaping and fill the tank with disturbed aquasoil.

I managed to catch the nano fish and the betta and switch them, but if the betta manages to get through again, I'm just going to take the divider out. I found the nook in the back of the background that allows him to swim through and stuffed it full of hair algae. Finally, the stuff can be useful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Any idea how long I should keep the divider in? I've had him for 2 weeks, and had the divider up for 9 days. He's definitely been out and about more; still very cautious though. However, his fins are still clamped most the time, so he is still stressed, which is why I haven't flared him yet. I don't want him to think there's another betta around after trying to get him used to the tank.

My parameters:
Nitrate: 10 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Ammonia: 0 ppm
GH: 8
KH: 7
pH: 7.4
TDS: 298
Temperature: 77

I'm really hoping it wasn't a bad idea to put him in a tank with 19 spastic nano fish. I guess I didn't think much of it, because I'd had a betta and 6 endlers in a 5 gallon before, and he was always so chill about his tankmates.
 
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